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SOFA Status

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Chuck 10
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MTGgirl2020 27
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MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

Hello. I need real answers here. I know this question casues people to respond with what they think they know, but I really need facts.

My husband is getting stationed in Japan in a few months and I have been denied command sponsorship. My understanding is that I can still go with him if I get my own ticket and all of that, but I need this one clarification.... How do I get SOFA when I get there. I have heard people say it is not possible without sponsorship, but I have also heard that we would follow a process like this... his command would write a letter indicating he has a dependant that receives more than 50% of support from him and he will provide return transportation when needed. Then we take this letter to imigrations and they cancel my temp visa and I switch over to SOFA status.

Is this true? Where can I find something official that lists this as a process? Thanks for any help at all. 

doG rM --- 6 years ago -

If you aren't command sponsored, you will NOT be granted SOFA status. Your husband will also not be paid the extra accompanied entitlements. 

Suoirafen --- 6 years ago -

doG is correct. You will have an ID card so you can get onto the base but unless you are Command Sponsored your Visa will be as a Tourist and will give you 90 days which you can extend 1 time for another 90 days. Everything will be on your dime and it is not cheap here so unless you guys have a ton of extra money I would not recommend trying it. 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

Thanks for responding. I have done extensive research on this for the last few days. I have found that you do not need Command Sponsorship for SOFA status in Japan. The SOFA with Japan requires only that I am a dependent that receives support from the military member working in the country. We have to get a letter from the command stating that and including that he will pay for me to return. Then I take the letter to imigrations and they cancel my 90 days and I get SOFA status. Also, we have children that do have command sponsorship so we get base housing,cola, etc.

If there is anyone that has any more details on this I would appreciate it. 

doG rM --- 6 years ago -

Good luck with that. I bet whoever told you that also has a big red bridge for sale too..... 

Chuck --- 6 years ago -

You will not rate OHA, or base housing. You will rate BAH "on right" which is considerably lower than OHA but comperable to what you would receive stateside.

You would receive COLA. I've personally done this, but it was years ago, so some things may have changed. 

Chuck --- 6 years ago -

The key question here would be "why were you denied command sponsorship?" Being that you were denied, it would be highly unlikely for the unit to overturn this decision and to provide you with said letter. 

Jonathan --- 6 years ago -

Once you arrive on the island your husband needs to request a tour convertion(36 months more from the date of approval) from head quarters of marine corps and if approved. You will then and your husband start the area clearance process in order for you to rate cola and sofa status... 

Chuck --- 6 years ago -

Once you arrive on the island your husband needs to request a tour convertion(36 months more from the date of approval) from head quarters of marine corps and if approved.

He had accompanied tour orders and she was denied area clearance. Your solution won't correct anything. 

Jonathan --- 6 years ago -

Chuck an area clearence will allow a Marine to claim cola for the dependent. It has nothing to do with command sponsorship. As soon as the TOUR CONVERSION is approved the dependent is considered command sponsored, thus the dependent will have SOFA STATUS. I just advise the sponsor do an area clearence if he wants COLA for the dependent. Thank you sir. I've been doing this ADMINISTRATIVE job for a while. This solution only applies to this scenario where the sponsor has already paid out of his pocket to have the dependent with him. 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

I have spoken to the Japanese Consulate, the Visa department, Kadena Military Immigrations office, Kadena legal office, Relocations, MPF customer service, Family Readiness center, multiple online forums and blogs. All have confirmed and recomfirmed this for me. I have even read the entire SOFA for Japan.

Without command sponsorship I do not have access to the base medical facilities...more specifically I do not get Tricare prime. I get Tricare standard (overseas).

My husband is going accompanied with dependants. He will get every benefit that a person with dependents gets. I should know, I was unmarried with children at one point in my Air Force Career and had the exact same benefits.

I have to buy my own plane ticket of course and use off base medical facilities if needed or space A on base.

I will not receive command sponsorship. The letter will even say in bold letters that I DO NOT HAVE it. It will simply state my husband is responsible for me yadda yadda and that is all Japan requires for me to be in SOFA status.

We are not Marines...so thanks for the marine advice? haha 

Chuck --- 6 years ago -

We are not Marines...so thanks for the marine advice? haha


All regulations are pretty much the same reguardless of service affliliation. Sounds like you are all set. Have fun, hope you don't get seriously ill.

Then again, being seriously ill at the base hospital is pretty much the kiss of death anyway. If you have to use off base facilities it can get quite expensive and most will not take insurance up front, you will need to pay the bill then be reimbursed. Save up some money. 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

That is true, but the Air Force tends to do things differently just to be a pain in the ass. Also the immigrations office told me to call the Air Force legal office because they require specific things in the letter. I do appreciate your input though.
I tend to be pretty healthy, but anything can happen in 4 years. I imagine that if something serious happens I will just go on base for emergency purposes. Well...probably not, they are terrible. haha

If we decide to have another kid, we are getting a midwife anyway. No hospital birth for me!

Now that this is all figured out I am looking forward to planning the fun in Japan! 

Fulu McVooDoo --- 6 years ago -

This has me genuinely curious. Why wouldn't a spouse be able to get sponsership? 

Kreekee --- 6 years ago -

NVM. 

Chuck --- 6 years ago -

I imagine that if something serious happens I will just go on base for emergency purposes. Well...probably not, they are terrible. haha


A surgery on base cost me 4 times as much as a more invasive surgery off base. Just a thought. 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

Fulu, I was not medically cleared.

Chuck, I had a 3 day stay in a military hospital once and oh...the stories I can tell! The misery! lol I thought I might die. 

Kreekee --- 6 years ago -

If you weren't medically cleared, why in the world would you want to go? They apparently cannot care for you, for whatever reason. I would be scared that I'd get seriously ill and there'd be no help for me. I do know couples who have appealed their denial of Medical Clearance and won, only needing extra information sent to the receiving base. Either way, I wish you the best. Good luck! 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

I do not require any medical care so I am not worried about going at all. :) 

Kreekee --- 6 years ago -

I see.. Well, have fun! 

Fulu McVooDoo --- 6 years ago -

Oh ok. It had me baffled a bit! 

doG rM --- 6 years ago -

So, I suppose I told you so is in order. You're taking a big risk going un-sponsored. The military has zero responsibility for you if something happens and you won't be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses that you incur.

I do not require any medical care so I am not worried about going at all. :)


It's probably mental issues that caused the denial. It's very easy to be denied overseas medical clearance for mental issues. 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

I have lived in Japan before, I know what I am getting into. There are countless people that move to Japan with no affiliation with the military and they do just fine.
I highly doubt something is going to go so badly that we will be financially screwed. I am not sure which worse case scenario you are imagining, but it probably doesn't apply. I am not going to make my family miss out on a great opportunity because of a bunch of "what if's" or a pathetic fear of not having the military to hold my hand.

Yes, mental health denial. I manage my mental health naturally and do not need their medical facilities to do so. I just look bad on paper. 

Chuck --- 6 years ago -

Deleted 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

You wouldn't think people would be trolling a page like Okinawa Underground...and yet there are a few of you. haha pretty sad. If you have something positive to contribute please continue. Otherwise, continue for the sake of wasting your time I suppose. 

doG rM --- 6 years ago -

You wouldn't think people would be trolling a page like Okinawa Underground.

You have a lot to learn. 

MTGgirl2020 --- 6 years ago -

Congratulations? 

Kreekee --- 6 years ago -

*gasp* Trolling on le underground? What is the world coming to? 

Jonathan --- 6 years ago -

 

Fulu McVooDoo --- 6 years ago -

So he got accompanied orders with regard to the kids, but you specifically were denied sponsorship OR was he issued unaccompanied orders? I still feel like I'm missing the mark here. If his orders are unaccompanied, then to go over there would seem like financial suicide. Just my opinion though. 

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